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Simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint

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Our planet has always provided for our never-ending demands and to make sure it continues to do so for future generations, we need to start acting responsible towards our environment. With increasing human activity, carbon footprint has increased to a great extent. Carbon footprint is the measurement of greenhouse gases we individually produce in our daily activities. As all of us release some amount of carbon dioxide directly or indirectly everyday and closely monitoring our activities can help reduce the impact we make on the environment. Due to increasing awareness among individuals, many steps are now being taken to minimize human effects on the planet.

Making your contribution doesn’t really cost much. By using simple and effective practices, we can all do our part in ensuring that our earth’s resources are sustained while reducing our carbon footprint.

Go organic and local

Try to buy everything organic at a ‘fair price’. If food is grown locally in an eco-friendly way, then it doesn’t have to travel that far to get to the market. For example, coffee travels a long distance and so has a large carbon footprint. If possible, make sure you eat in restaurants that serve seasonal or locally produced foods. They’re healthier too – less spoilage and chance of getting rotten and less use of chemicals.

Avoid bottled water

The sale of bottled water produces large carbon footprint as it is usually bottled in a certain place and transported to different states and areas. Try buying a reusable or recyclable water bottle and carry water from home. These days, many restaurants have taken the initiative of using in-house filtration systems that make tap water a better choice so you can always refill your bottle there.

Check your packaging

Whenever you go shopping make sure you go to stores that keep your packaging to a minimum. Avoid buying goods in plastic bags and carry your own jute or cloth bag instead. Not only does this help reduce waste to a big extent but carrying trendy and contemporary eco-friendly bags also makes you look good.

Use native plants

Grow native plant species in your garden not only because they tend to grow well in their familiar environment but also because green plants are the best way to offset carbon emissions. Growing exotic plants can pose a major threat to the growth of other native species too. Native plants also reduce carbon footprint as they don’t have to travel a long distance or be shipped like other exotic plants.

Switch it off!

Always unplug appliances or gadgets that are not in use. Cell phones, laptops, televisions, music players and other electronic gadgets can be switched off when not in use as they do siphon off some amount of energy even in standby mode. If you’re going on a long holiday, you could switch your water heater to ‘vacation’ mode or turn it off entirely. Not only will it help reduce energy use but is also safer in case of short circuits.

Research more

If you’re a shopaholic, make sure you research or find out all you can about the product you plan to buy. This will help keep you informed about the uses of the product and the ingredients that go into making it. Since every item in a store has its own carbon footprint, knowing how much it can impact the environment will make you a wiser shopper.

Spend time with family

Family gatherings are the best way to spend quality time with loved ones and reduce carbon impact. Cooking and entertainment for large groups is easier, less expensive and uses lesser resources like gas and electricity.

Make travel direct

If you have to travel long distances, do all you can to find a direct mode of transport to your destination. It makes travel easier and also reduces carbon impact. Try to get all your work done in one shot so you don’t have to travel too frequently. Carpool and run errands with a friend. You’ll use less gas and will end up saving money as well as reducing your impact on the environment.

Use your old car

You might plan to purchase a new hybrid or electronic car with increasing gas prices but it is recommended that you do not dispose off your old car just yet as even hybrids create big footprints. Try running your car a little longer with more eco-friendly engines or fuels.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

The three Rs can help a great deal in reducing your carbon footprint. Don’t over-buy products and try to reuse them as much as you can. If the product can be recycled, then follow proper methods of disposal. You can segregate waste according to what can be recycled and what cannot. This will simplify your task and keep your waste more organized.

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